The children were the first to seize upon Trump. Merciless, they hacked at his knees and midsection, relenting only when his sweet entrails burst forth and fell to the ground below. Then began the frenzy, as more and more children piled in and began collecting the spilled remains, handling them with unfiltered delight.
It was 7:15 p.m. on a Sunday, and a large crowd had gathered to witness the carnage. Throughout the day, the people had been promised a bloodbath. "Right after seven, everybody is waiting here, and we're gonna kick his butt," Rodrigo Romero had told them. "We're gonna try to hit him as hard as we can. He's stupid and he's crazy, right?"
Romero, a DJ and radio host for Tremenda 880 AM (WIJB), was on hand as part of Cherokee Street's Mexican Independence Day celebration. Booths and vendors lined the street in south St. Louis, which was blocked off and bookended by two large stages. Thousands of people filled the space between, eating and laughing and dancing. Oh, and talking about Donald Trump.
"Whoever hates him is going to be over here," Romero said. "So if you want to really show your feelings — whatever you feel about this guy — you're so welcome to come in here and just kick his butt, OK?"
Romero stood next to an oversized piñata made in the likeness of Donald Trump. Dubbed "El Trumpo," the paper mache masterpiece had been constructed by Francis "Rich" Rodriguez, owner of Yaquis on Cherokee, which specializes in wood-fired pizzas. The project took two weeks.
"He had an option to set up the nursery or build an eight-foot piñata," explained his partner Beckie Lewis, who serves as manager at the restaurant. "He picked the piñata."
As a young man — twelve years old, tops — prepared to take a swing at the candy-filled "El Trumpo," Romero put the crowd's frustration into words. "There's good people and bad people in every race," he said. "There's bad white people. There's bad black people. There's bad Mexican people. There's bad Chinese people. But there's good people too, you know? And we're really mad that this guy is saying that all the Spanish people are rapists and criminals. You know, that's stupid, my friend. Viva Mexico!"
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The first kid took Trump out at the knees, but failed to release the delicious candy found within. The next one up at bat successfully punched through, and suddenly dozens of children flooded past the small fence that had been erected and pounced on the sweet stuff.
Normally that would mark the end of the event, but some of the adults in the crowd still had some steam to release. As the little ones shuffled away, the grown folks eagerly stepped in and finished the job.
"We're not harming anybody," Romero explained of the crowd's anger. "We're just trying to be happy people. We're trying to have a better life. We come here to work and take care of our family — our sons, our grandparents.
"I mean, nobody wants a president like this," he continued. "This is wrong; this is stupid. He's making people hate each other, and that's stupid. We are all brothers."